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A Celebration of Excess

What at first looks like a modern take on a baroque print, turns out to be a little risqué. Sex toys form the patterns in work by recent KABK-graduate Jitske Wedman.

By Cassandra Pizzey /asdf 22-08-2013

With all it’s different wings and corridors, some old, some new, the Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague must be an inspiring place to work. It’s graphic design graduation show certainly was and just the place to spot new talent. Graphic designs by young creative Jitske Wedmanwere applied to a rug, cushions and other household items. 

Where do you find inspiration for your projects?

“All kinds of different places. It really depends on the projects. Generally by living, looking around and listening. I love visiting galleries and museums or venturing out into nature. I have a weak spot for old crafts and enjoy roaming vintage shops. All these things give me ideas and mental images which I can apply to my work.”

Can you tell us about your graduation project?

“A CELEBRATION OF EXCESS is about the excesses of our time. Ever since the industrialization we have been able to produce more and faster for less money. Before, luxury goods were only meant for the upper class, now everyone has become a consumer and many in excess. I designed a number of patterns in a baroque manner that say something about the over-consumption of products. A CELEBRATION OF EXCESS is about creating ornaments with modern techniques.”

Part of the collection is a rug made from cheap carpet tiles which have been lasered and depict all kind of computer accessories. Another project named Spring Vibrations features a series of hand-drawn, almost botanical patterns on textiles featuring vibrators and other sex-shop toys. Both are a fun yet social commentary on our current state of mass-consumption and throwaway culture. 

Can you tell us about you work process?

“I started by researching what ‘excess’ really is. It tends to have a negative undertone but I wanted to show the beauty of it. I love the Baroque period; the richness of ornaments and the crafts. I also looked at what it’s like now, and I think the excesses can mostly be found in mass-consumption in the broadest sense of the word. Combining these three things I aimed to show excess in the form of household products, items you would normally find around your home.” 

What were the reactions of your fellow students and teachers to you work?

“My teachers mostly liked the Plug Rug and its relationship between ornament and product. My project isn’t just graphic design but has also become textile and product design. Many teachers and fellow students liked how tactile my work is and were surprised by what you could do with the tools available at the academy. Other students seemed charmed by Spring Vibrations and I loved seeing whether people noticed more than just the pattern during the exhibition.”

Can you tell us why you chose to study at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK)?

“I wanted to study in The Hague because they specialize in fonts, something I didn’t know enough about. The academy has a great atmosphere and lots of workspace. It also promotes studying abroad for a semester which allowed me to travel to Tallinn, Estonia. Before the KABK I studied graphic design elsewhere and had a job but I really wanted to develop myself creatively. The KABK gave me that opportunity.”

What did you enjoy most about your course?

“I loved going down to the workshop and experimenting with various materials and techniques. I enjoy working and developing my work by creating physical products, pushing materials to their limits and allowing for all kinds of surprises.”

What are your plans for the future?

“I want to develop the Plug Rug into a never-ending carpet. Because it’s made out of floor tiles, there are no size-constraints. Also, I’m planning to set up a small production of the Spring Vibrations cushion and sell them through my website or in shops. I would love to work for a company, developing a combination of graphic design, textile and product design and working on patterns. Maybe there’s a teaching job in it for me along the line but first there’s a lot to learn in the real world.”

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